Miner’s Lettuce

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Miner’s Lettuce is a broadleaf plant found throughout California (except for the lower desert areas). It inhabits natural plant communities, agricultural land, and urban areas, with a preference for cool, damp conditions. It dries up with the onset of hot weather.

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The flowers of Miner’s Lettuce bloom from February through May. Five to forty white to pale pink flowers on slender down-curved stalks cluster above a circular to weakly squared, often cuplike, green structure that looks like a leaf and completely surrounds the stem.

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This is an edible plant with pleasingly crunchy, mild-tasting, large leaves. The plant got its name because the Gold Rush miners ate it to stave off the scurvy, which is caused by a Vitamin C deficiency. It is one of the few North American wild plants exported to Europe as a salad green.

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Miner’s Lettuce is an important source of food for wildlife, providing a grazing source for gophers, quail, doves and rodents, while seed-eating birds eat the plant’s fruit. On a cool, rainy day like today, these plants seem to be thriving.

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Third Eye Herp

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